Friday, October 22, 2010

Stifle Issues, again.

Really? So why would that be new news? Well, Gus has been fairly sound in the hind end (aka stifles) since he was moved to my MIL's back in 2009. The last time he had his stifles injected was in January of 2009. We haven't experienced any problems since then. Well, on Wednesday things changed.

I brought him in as usual for my lesson and noticed when I asked him to move his butt over, he would literally fall over. Definitely not normal. He was also resting the right hind. When I put him in the groom stall to get him prepped for the lesson, he had a very hard time turning around. He also would not lift the left hind for me to pick out his hooves... because then he'd have to bear full weight on that right hind.

I took him into the arena to lunge him and he was definitely off on that right hind. So off to call the vet. Dr. N will be out on Monday to for sure do a quick lameness eval and then do (mostlikely) joint injections to be the right and left stifles.

I feel bad for Gus but I'm also really mad. It seems like this is how life works. Hopefully the injections do their magic and Gus is miraculously back to normal within the week... but for some reason, I'm not holding my breath for that...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Long Overdue Update

It's been ages since I've done an update on the boys. I do have plenty of pictures to post too, go figure, right? Anyways, the photos will have to come later. First things first though.

Gringo. He's been doing fairly well all summer long. Too well, in fact. The little porker looks more like a cow then the Andalusian/Appaloosa that he is. He weights nearly as much as Gus, according to the weight tape at least.

Soundness-wise, well he's the same 'ol. Still off and on sound. More off then anything else though as of late. MIL doesn't seem to notice it at all, but I've known Gringo for a bit longer and although it is sometimes very minute, the lameness is still there. We'll see what the spring holds for him. She (MIL) would like me to start him under saddle again. I would like to see Gringo have some sort of job, as he's just wasting away in the pasture. But I think he enjoys his life for the most part. After all, he's nearly 8 and this is all he's ever known.

Food-wise, Gringo is now on more of a diet then he's ever been on. Short of slapping on a grazing muzzle (which I'd do if it wasn't for the fact that he'd literally live in it day in and day out, without it coming off) he's on basically just pasture and a small scoop (about 1/5 of a lb) of alfalfa pellets daily along with his supps. The supps are MSM (10g), MagOx 56% (10g), and Mega-Cell. The alf' pellets are only there so there is something to mix his supps with. He's currently on no hay, whatsoever. Although I do think the MIL feels bad for him and gives him some hay every now and then.

He's otherwise as happy as he can be. Just enjoying life.

Gus. We've definitely had our ups and downs. After doing the trial with boots and wedge pads (which we were successful with), Gus had shoes put back on with wedge pads and Forshner's packing added underneath. He was going well for a while, when just before our show in August he decided to throw a shoe. Lovely, right? J was out and put it back on just in time for the show. Despite the fact that Gus desperately needed his Legend injection, he did great at the show, bring in two ribbons, a first and a second. Very proud of my boy.

So, after the show, Gus got the Legend injection and that gave him a second wind. He really started moving better after that. Fast forward until the a few days ago.

We we warming up in the outdoor, prepping for this weekend's show when all of a sudden Gus took a bad step. A really bad step. Head bobbing lame immediately. Got B (the BO/Trainer) over to take a look and agreed with me that it was right fore. Definitely felt like hoof. We thought he may have gotten something (rock, sand?) up underneath the pad, but had no way of really knowing.

So I call out J, again. She really is fabulous. She comes out two days later (incident happened Sunday, I called her Monday after finding out he was still off, she was out Wednesday morning) and pulls both shoes, resets them and applies Equipak. I had a lesson on Wednesday evening and surprisingly, Gus was fairly sound. I am VERY HAPPY about this.

Still unsure what exactly caused the issues. We are sorta wondering if he may have knocked himself really hard or if there was something bothering him that had gotten stuck in the padding. It's interesting that where he did react to the hoof testers (sole, mainly outside near heel) was where he had a big divot in his heel and where he also had a large bruise. We plan on monitoring that hoof really well. I've got pictures... so I'll try to post them later.

Other then all that, Gus is really thriving back at B's. His weight is finally back to where I'd like it to be and he's looking wonderful. He recently received his annual body clip and looks fabulous. I just wish we could get his muscling back up so he looked even better.

Food-wise, he's basically on the same diet he's been on all summer. He's getting 2lbs of Progressive ProAdvantage Grass Formula ration balancer, along with about 6lbs of alfalfa pellets daily. Both of those are divided equally between two meals. His supps are pretty basic. He is getting MagOx 56% (10g), MSM (10g sometimes 20g), and Flex Force HA (1oomg). I'm thinking that if he needs more calories (fat) this winter, I'll either add in the Cool Calories 100 again or add in rice bran.

So, pictures are to come. Eventually.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Boots + Pads

So, yesterday J (the farrier) tried something new. She put Gus in his Boa Boots (those aren't new...) and added a 2 degree wedge pad, if I recall correctly. Per the vet's instructions (and in talking to B, the BO/Trainer) we are treating Gus as if he has Navicular or another issue (ie fetlock arthritis). I guess the point is to keep his heels and toes in check. Basically, not allowing him to grow long toes or underslung heels. The sad thing is he's much happier (and more comfortable) with his hooves like that.

I guess Gus walked into the barn yesterday afternoon lame and left, boots and pads, sound. B is under strict guidelines to monitor his hooves daily to make sure the Boa's aren't rubbing or causing any other issues. That particular brand of hoof boots is NOT made to be worn 24/7. I'm hoping that the combo helps and if he's looking better within a week we'll see about applying shoes, I think.

Next step, otherwise, would include a more diagnostic approach - either x-rays or an ultrasound. Who knows? I'm hoping he gets better, but honestly if the boots + pads don't work, I think I'll just toss him out to pasture until after the wedding (which is in 29 days, whohoo!) and start from scratch again when I have more time.

I really need to post those photos. I plan on taking more again today... perhaps some video too if I can locate my mom's camera. Her camera takes much better photo then my cell phone.

I haven't been out to see Gringo lately either. I plan on either going out today or tomorrow, weather/traffic permitting. Although I can't really use either as an excuse since he only lives 20 minutes from me, whereas Gus is now nearly 45 minutes away (but only 20 from work).

Hope everyone has a great (and safe) 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spoke Too Soon

You guessed it. Gus is worse again.

I was out to the barn yesterday after work to put a light ride on Gus. All we did was about 20 minutes of mainly walking, with about 5-8 minutes of trot work thrown in (only doing about 1-2 minutes at a time though). He was okay with all of that, but upon leaving the arena he stumbled heavily with his right fore. He didn't really walk out of it either, but seemed okay once back in the cross-ties in the aisle. As I went to turn him around to go back to his turnout, he really struggled to move his body around.

B, the BO, was there and watched him move. She couldn't believe how bad he looked again. We ended up talking for a while about Gus and she was wondering if he could benefit from shoeing as-if-he-were-a-Navicular-horse. That is the treatment that the other lame horse at the barn was prescribed by a top notch lameness vet (whom Gus has also seen previously).

I ended up talking to the vet today about Gus and she's at loss as to what to do too. She's wondering if he has arthritis in his neck or in his right fetlock. I had x-rays, once upon a time, that proved there "supposedly" was arthritis in the right front fetlock... also had x-rays that said he was Navicular. Both of those theories went out the window when Gus was finally diagnosed with a bad stifle. Since we have fixed that, the other issues have gone away, least until now.

The reason why we suspect something with that right front is because it was bearing a lot of the weight load for a good month when Gus was first having issues with that abscess in the left front. So, who knows what is really going on but I think we will try a shoe/trim approach first and then go to x-rays next... if needed.

It's quite frustrating not knowing exactly what is going on. Poor Gus.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's been a while...

Wow, it's been way too long since I've updated this blog. Lots of things have happened over the past month and I have tons of photos to share, but unfortunately those will have to come at a later date.

Firstly, Gus was shod back in mid-May (May 13th to be exact). J put on just fronts... nothing special, to see if we could get him sounder. To no avail though. He was still just as lame as before. We all thought that the shoes would make a difference. Oh well. J really trimmed up his hooves too. They actually looked a bit too tiny. I have photos... will need to post them later.

So, after that didn't work we just kept monitoring him. Had the vet back out the early part of June (I think) or it was the end of May. She took some x-rays (which I'll post later) and basically couldn't find anything, even though the left front hoof was warm to the touch. Both B (the BO) and myself thought it was both fronts... cause he was equally lame both directions on the lunge when theoretically he should be sounder looking one direction over the other. The vet still thought he and an abscess and recommended soaking and wrapping, again. So, we did another week's worth of that and no improvement, whatsoever.

Needless to say, we ended up pulling his shoes early June, the 10th actually. J pulled the shoes and trimmed Gus again, even though it had only been four weeks. He was so incredibly sore afterwards. He ended up doing this weird drunken-sailor movement where he was swinging his front legs out and over the other front leg. He had a hard time walking a straight line.

After videoing this (I do have the video also) we (my BO and I) had a hunch that it may be something higher up causing the issues. B thought it was his knees. Turns out this knobby things his has on his knees (he's had them FOREVER) were very hot to the touch. Gus moved off decently enough in the arena... he even navigated some trot poles just fine. But the moment he walked on the concrete of the barn aisle, he was head-bobbing, leg-swinging lame. He even moved great in the pasture and walking in from turnout. It was just the barn itself he had difficulties with.

So, sending that latest update to the vet (still haven't heard anything back from her) we still weren't entirely sure what was going on with Gus. He seemed okay when you palpated his legs... and the only heat that was showing up now was in the knee area. The knobby things didn't both Gus at all. I ended up applying some Sore-No-More gelotion to the areas... not sure if it helped or not.

Now **knocking on wood** Gus is doing quite well. No more leg-swinging, drunken-sailor moving horse. Yippee! He is sound moving outside, inside (including the concrete aisle) and in the arena. I hopped up on him Thursday morning to see how things were and I was pleasantly surprised. He is still short-strided in the front but willingly moves out.

The odd thing is that it is his right front leg that he's short on, even though he was only ever off on the left front (least according to the vet... B and I always thought differently). Still, he's not on anything for pain, just his MSM and HA, and he's comfortable. We'll see how he improves in the course of the next couple weeks. Hopefully, it's only for the better.

Now on to Gringo. I kinda feel bad about him as he's been on the back burner lately due to my work schedule, Gus needing a lot of time and moving (oh, and the wedding!). I'm hoping to change that soon though.

Needless to say, that boy is looking pretty good. He seems to be staying sound and OVERLY err, plump, this spring/summer. I talked to the future MIL about decreasing his hay... I really don't think he needs half a bale of hay to himself, especially since there is a really nice pasture growing right now. In fact, Gringo had gained nearly 60lbs in a month. Sixty pounds that he desperately DID NOT need. I have photos of him too... comparing him from May to now. I'll need to post those for your viewing pleasure. But like the other photos I need to post, they will be posted later.

Other then the weight gain, Gringo is looking and feeling well. He seems happy for the most part, but I think he, in his own little way, misses Gus. Gus on the other hand does NOT miss Gringo.

I'm pleased so far that both my boys seem to be getting better/staying sound. I'll try to get those photos posted as soon as possible... it's interesting to see the changes in both Gus and Gringo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hoof Boots = Some Success

At the suggestion of my BO, I tried Gus's Boa Boots on today. Mind you he had a double dose of Previcox in his system, but he moved a lot better. I should've tried lunging him sans boots to see if he was still looking good or if he was back to his normal (off) self.

So, Gus is not getting any more Previcox now until this weekend... if needed. I figure when J, the farrier, is out she'd prefer to see him unaided. Also, if he's not doing any better I do need to see about getting the vet out (and I really don't want to do that yet).

Othewise, Gus is doing well. He's basically shedded out on his face and neck. Still very, very hairy on his barrel and belly. Rump is fairly shedded out too, surprisingly. Hopefully he'll turn around...

Gringo is doing better too. I haven't seen him nearly as often as I should. But he's still the same ol' horse, if not a bit more mellower. He actually seems a bit depressed at times, which is not him but I think he misses Gus.

Gringo has fortunately shedded out almost entirely on his own, without any help from me. This makes me happy as having two light-colored horses shedding out at the same time is a double pain in the hinny.

Anyways, both boys look good despite their issues. I need to get new *real* pictures up... maybe I'll try to do that this weekend if the weather cooperates.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Really? Still off!

I went out to the barn on Tuesday to see how Gus was doing. Did the usual 20 minutes (or so it seemed) of grooming and then proceeded to tack him up. We went to the indoor and walked around a couple laps before I tried asking for a trot. While Gus is very willing to move out, he was still definitely lame. Decided to hop off and lunge him both directions, to get a feel to see if he behaves any differently on the lunge versus under saddle. He willingly moved down and out at both the walk and trot (and didn't try to kick my head off either). Still noticeably lame at the trot though, in both directions. I mentioned it to the BO and asked her opinion. She really had no good ideas... stumped like me.

Today I headed back out to the barn and did another makeover session on Gus. Actually, I did that on Tuesday. I repulled his mane. He actually looks like a nice western pleasure horse. Haha... he actually used to be one.

Anyways after his typical 20 minute grooming session, I took him into the arena and just lunged him both directions. Still off. This time though, instead of being comfortable stretching down and out, he was trotting around like a giraffe saying "ouch, ouch, ouch" after his left fore hit the ground.

I sent a couple emails out to both the farrier, J, and the vet, Dr. N (the original Dr. N). J recommends (possibly) putting on shoes... just until she can get Gus better balanced and over these abscesses (I should just say get over this abscess...). So, that's definitely a possibility. She'll be back out next Thursday (a week from today) to trim Gus, and possibly put some shoes back on. We'll see.

I just sent that email off to Dr. N so hopefully I'll hear back from her within the next day or two. She's usually good about responding back quickly.

Any suggestions? I'm just tired of having a lame horse. It's just lame. [pun intended]

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Still Off!

Sheesh. I went out today to see and ride Gus. His abscess is looking a lot better. No drainage, no tenderness... just a nice, clean hole. We went through our "normal" routine... meaning grooming with the shedding blade, then the face curry, then the Grooma curry, then the Furminator, then the hard brush, followed by the soft brush. Uggh. He's STILL shedding like crazy.

I had previously decided to hop up on Gus today to see how he was feeling under saddle. Well, he's good at the walk, but still very head-bobbing lame at the trot. I got back off and lunged him. He looked pretty darn sound to the left, but when the left leg was on the outside (so travelling right) he was definitely off. However, he was moving really down and out. I couldn't believe how comfortable he looking lunging.

So, I think I'll be giving him until Tuesday off. Then we'll try working under saddle again. Maybe allowing that hoof to dry-up and heal a bit more will make him sounder. Who knows?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Abscess Update

So, Gus seems to be doing better. I put him on the lunge Friday and the BO/Trainer watched him go. He seemed stiff (which is normal for him) but not lame. He was still slightly off on the LF, but it wasn't super apparent.

The last few days (since Thursday), I've been soaking Gus's foot with Epsom salts and then applying a Magic Cushion wrap. Besides the fact that the MC is so sticky (it only comes off with alcohol, thanks CoTHers for that tip), it works really, really well.

Here's some photos. The black hole just to the right of the tip of the frog is where the abscess was dug out from. This photo is post-soaking.

I forgot to take some photos of the wrap before I turned Gus back out. So here's my handiwork. It's definitely not the prettiest, but it's practical. And... it lasts 24 hours outside to boot. Whohoo!

And, as usual... I took some more body pictures. Not the greatest... I'm hoping to take out the real camera one of these days and get some better photos. But here goes for now.

This is Gus... shaking his head.

Here's Gus's teeth. Aren't they lovely?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's an abscess...

Well, heard from the BM (a different person then the BO/Trainer) that Gus, for sure, has an abscess. The vet was out on Monday to look at another horse and since she was out, I figured I'd split the vet call and have her take a look at Gus too.

According to the BM (and the BO, as I sent her an email asking more questions) he was very sore in the sole... not sure if it was in the toe or where, but they did find the abscess and the vet dug it out. It's quite possible that there was another exit for that abscess... see those photos I posted previously.

So, the treatment plan is soaking and wrapping until it's no longer draining. The BO has been soaking and wrapping Gus since Monday. I believe she's doing an Epsom salt soak and then a betadine/sugar (sugardine) wrap.

I'm heading out today (first time I'll have been at the barn since Sunday) to do a soak and wrap before my lesson. I'm also planning on soaking with Epsom salts, but then doing a wrap with Magic Cushion. It's a great product (so I've heard) that I've fortunately NEVER had the pleasure of using. I'm hoping to not have to use it ever again (although it looks to be a great product to keep in my arsenal).

I plan on taking more photos, but it'll be with my Blackberry... so nothing spectacular.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Leg Photos

Gus's newest leg injury to his left front leg. Noticed the injury yesterday, April 19th but noticed the day before that he was off. Couldn't pin-point the leg (or even if it was front or hind lameness, although the head bob should've been a dead giveaway) but when grooming him yesterday this was pretty obvious.

These next couple photos were taken prior to cleaning up... although area has been clipped short.

This view shows there is no swelling at the site... which is LF outside, so the right side in this photo (where it's all wet). There is NO heat in the leg and it is not tender when been prodded. I ended up doing a hot pack (really, just a really warm towel - soaked in water) to the area for about 10 minutes. Nothing came out of the sores... least nothing that I could detect.

These next couple are after being hot packed and then slathered with Patch N' Go. I felt I needed to put something on there... so I figured that stuff wouldn't hurt. It's like an antibacterial ointment/homeopathic stuff.

And finally, another body shot of Gus with his head shoved in a round bale. Nice, huh?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weight Gain!

Yeh! I think Gus is finally starting to pack on some weight. He should be now, getting nearly 8lb of "grain" a day now and nearly unlimited hay...

Here's some photos. These first few are from March 15th, the last are from today.

March 15th:

Oh, these next couple were from the first day at his new "old" barn:


He is HAIRY. And gets sweaty so incredibly fast. Today was a good day though. He started off really rough, with some bad stumbles from the hind end. After working through that doing lots of trotting, we worked on the shoulder-in. Man is his a plow-horse on that front end of his. Sheesh.
We did end up with some nice work at the end. A few half-hearted attempts at leg-yielding too, which was a pleasant surprise that he offered that. He's much softer to the left then to the right. To the right, he just blows through my aids and leans heavily on the right rein. I definitely need to get some lessons on him again, but not until he's more fitted.
The goal is to start working on transitions again. Walk to trot, trot to walk, walk to canter, canter to trot to walk, walk to halt, etc. He really needs to strengthen that hind end. I am also wanting to start working on cavalletti again too. Those are supposed to be very good with strengthening the hind end. So, we'll see.

First Colic!

Yikes. Last Wednesday was NOT a good day for Gringo. Everything started off normally, but quickly spirled downhill. He had his typical 1/2lb of alfalfa pellets, slightly mushy with water, and his supps. I then turned him outside to munch on his hay while I was picking up his pasture. He took on small (very unusual) bite of hay and then proceeded to lay down. He stood back up, pawed at the hay and then laid down again (flat out).

I knew almost immediately that something was not right. First of all, Gringo never takes small bites of anything. It's all or nothing for him. And laying down while eating? He's lazy, but not THAT lazy.

Needless to say, he was colicing. I got the good vet out (Dr. NS, the same one we had for our spring vaccines this year) and she gave him a good dose of banamine and some other wonderful drug to help stop his cramps. She said he was colicing, but it was more of a "I ate bad Chinese" stomach cramp rather then an impaction. To be on the safe side, we did go ahead and tube him with some electrolytes.

He's better, but still not himself. He's very subdued. Talked to trainer/BO and she recommended adding in some probios/electolytes... so I think I'll try that to see if he perks back up.

Anyways, the farrier was out today and I took some shots of Gringo's feet just after the trim. Any suggestions?

He says "Mom, I don't feel so well".

Weight-wise, he looks pretty decent. He's still really hairy though.

Front Legs

Another front view.

Hind Legs.
















That's it for photos for now...